A Colorado State Patrol crash report estimates the driver of a pickup truck was traveling 65 mph in a 35 mph zone when he collided with professional cyclist Benjamin Sonntag, who died at the scene.
The crash was reported at 12:08 p.m. March 4 on County Road 105 west of Marvel, in rural southwest La Plata County.
The green Ford Ranger pickup was driven by Cordell Schneider, 19, of Durango.
Sonntag, 39, was a German national who had lived in Durango since 2007.
According to the crash report, which is labeled “preview,” Sonntag was riding his 2019 Specialized S-Works Tarmac bike north on County Road 105. He was traveling about 20 mph near the left side of the road moments before the collision.
Schneider “lost control” of the pickup, which “began to yaw in a clockwise rotation.” As the pickup approached, Sonntag swerved to his right – apparently to avoid the pickup – and then to the left before the collision, according to the report.The impact occurred about 1½ feet from the west edge of the road.
Sonntag was thrown about 75 feet before hitting the ground in the middle of the road. He then tumbled 52 feet on the road, coming to rest on the east side of the road, according to the crash report. He was pronounced dead on scene.
The pickup continued south about 225 feet, went down a steep creek embankment and hit a tree before coming to rest on its passenger side in the middle of Cherry Creek.
Schneider was treated and released from Mercy Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
In a brief interview Wednesday, State Patrol Capt. Adrian Driscoll said the investigation was incomplete, and there was no timetable for completing the inquiry. No formal charges had been filed as of Wednesday, and it was unclear if charges would be filed.
The preview report suggests Schneider may face charges of “vehicular homicide – operated a motor vehicle in a reckless manner which was the proximate cause of death of another.” Drugs and alcohol were not suspected, and no toxicology report was conducted.
Sarah Alsgaard, Sonntag’s girlfriend, said she met Tuesday with Assistant District Attorney David Ottman, who told her he had not yet reviewed the crash report.
“We feel pretty powerless,” Alsgaard said. “Being told the investigation is not completed yet is really disheartening for all of us as our worlds have been turned upside down.”